To Laura In Death. Sonnet XXIV.

A poem by Francesco Petrarca

Gli occhi di ch' io parlai sì caldamente.


The eyes, the face, the limbs of heavenly mould,
So long the theme of my impassion'd lay,
Charms which so stole me from myself away,
That strange to other men the course I hold;
The crispèd locks of pure and lucid gold,
The lightning of the angelic smile, whose ray
To earth could all of paradise convey,
A little dust are now!--to feeling cold!
And yet I live!--but that I live bewail,
Sunk the loved light that through the tempest led
My shatter'd bark, bereft of mast and sail:
Hush'd be for aye the song that breathed love's fire!
Lost is the theme on which my fancy fed,
And turn'd to mourning my once tuneful lyre.


The eyes, the arms, the hands, the feet, the face,
Which made my thoughts and words so warm and wild,
That I was almost from myself exiled,
And render'd strange to all the human race;
The lucid locks that curl'd in golden grace,
The lightening beam that, when my angel smiled,
Diffused o'er earth an Eden heavenly mild;
What are they now? Dust, lifeless dust, alas!
And I live on, a melancholy slave,
Toss'd by the tempest in a shatter'd bark,
Reft of the lovely light that cheer'd the wave.
The flame of genius, too, extinct and dark,
Here let my lays of love conclusion have;
Mute be the lyre: tears best my sorrows mark.


Those eyes whose living lustre shed the heat
Of bright meridian day; the heavenly mould
Of that angelic form; the hands, the feet,
The taper arms, the crispèd locks of gold;
Charms that the sweets of paradise enfold;
The radiant lightning of her angel-smile,
And every grace that could the sense beguile
Are now a pile of ashes, deadly cold!
And yet I bear to drag this cumbrous chain,
That weighs my soul to earth--to bliss or pain
Alike insensible:--her anchor lost,
The frail dismantled bark, all tempest-toss'd,
Surveys no port of comfort--closed the scene
Of life's delusive joys;--and dry the Muse's vein.


Those eyes, sweet subject of my rapturous strain!
The arms, the hands, the feet, that lovely face,
By which I from myself divided was,
And parted from the vulgar and the vain;
Those crispèd locks, pure gold unknown to stain!
Of that angelic smile the lightening grace,
Which wont to make this earth a heavenly place!
Dissolved to senseless ashes now remain!
And yet I live, to endless grief a prey,
'Reft of that star, my loved, my certain guide,
Disarm'd my bark, while tempests round me blow!
Stop, then, my verse--dry is the fountain's tide.
That fed my genius! Cease, my amorous lay!
Changed is my lyre, attuned to endless woe!


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